Darran Garnham’s Toikido has partnered with Innersloth Games on the master toy deal, which covers categories including collectibles, figures, plush, play sets, RC and more.
Darran Garnham, formerly CEO EMEA at MTW Toys, is off to a strong start with his new venture, Toikido, landing a master toy deal with the studio behind the lockdown smash-hit game AmongUs, Innersloth Games, right out of the starting gates. Toy World finds out more about how Toikido came about, and how the ‘insanely knowledgeable start-up’ will be ripping up the rule book as we continue into 2021.
What can you tell us about the AmongUs master toy deal? And what other initial ranges and IP will you be working with?
We will be launching with Innersloth Games and its hit property AmongUs, which was the most downloaded game of 2020 with over 264m downloads. We have global master toy rights across a number of categories including (but not limited to) collectibles, figures, plush, play sets, RC and more. AmongUS has the DNA to expand onto new platforms, animation and live events and both organisations are brimming with excitement for what the future holds.
We are building a culture that will support our partners. We want to curate a complementary portfolio and dedicate ourselves to sharing visions with of our partners.
Within the team we have experts in numerous fields, so if the licensor requires it we can help expand IP from one platform to another – bring games into movies, toys into animation, social media talent into toys/music. This cross discipline integration is at the core of our strategy.
What is the thinking behind the Toikido concept?
We want to do things differently. I have been in the entertainment business for 20yrs having bought and sold rights, watching amazing companies succeed and grow, some fail and others go public. All of this has led me to this point.
At Toikido, we are building a company with an ecosystem across licensing, gaming, music, live events and entertainment. We will both partner with existing studios and develop our own brands, games and content. I have been lucky to be involved with some incredible companies and individuals, and Toikido will bring that experience, passion and knowledge to bear on everything we touch.
We’ve designed our culture and structure to enable us to move fast and be the partner of choice for the new breakthrough brands that are themselves ripping up the rule book.
Where did the name come from?
Toi – Kid – O. It’s kind of simple, familiar and different all at once. The name came during a brainstorm with a great friend – and a phenomenal design talent – Jeff Hall. Jeff and I then worked with Kids Industries to design the identity.
Most importantly, the name was approved by my kids. My boys approved the logo and Toikido mascot. They also took it upon themselves to join the business – Freddy as chief gaming officer and Seb as chief creative officer. The fact they came up with these titles themselves, at nine and seven years respectively, shows where the youth of today feels the value is added in today’s landscape.
I just love the name. My career began working with brands such as Pokémon, Nintendo & Yu-Gi-Oh! and so it feels very personal and relevant to the journey I’ve been on.
How has your background influenced the way the company is set up?
It is a culmination. I have been lucky enough to have a career that has been truly diverse and now those experiences are coming together in Toikido. Working with most of the major studios while on the agency side, as licensor at Mind Candy, building Moshi Monsters up from scratch to a $bn retail business and, at Universal, managing more than 4,000 licensees.
I’ve also been a trusted advisor at companies such as Kano, SuperAwesome, PartyQuest and Bright Little Labs, which explains why my leadership of Toikido is underpinned by my love of data. But data only has value if you turn it into insight. In this business, intuition is good, but insight is better. We’re partnering with leading kids and family market specialists Kids Industries to provide data, insight and strategy, while the amazing KidsKnowBest will deliver the activation that best connects with the consumer.
What do you perceive as the major opportunities for Toikido?
The major opportunity we have is in doing things differently. We are an insanely knowledgeable start-up. We are new but we’ve got decades worth of knowledge, relationships, and, perhaps most importantly, trust. Our team includes Grammy and BAFTA winners, inventors, investors, social media and tech experts.
The brain power and experience we have brings opportunities across multiple platforms and is at the cutting edge of a number of growth sectors. Toikido is a team obsessive about trends, quality, innovation and proprietary transferable technology in AI, VR and AR.
What are your aspirations for 2021 and beyond?
Firstly, to respect the challenges of 2020 and to have learned from them. I am ever the optimist, and believe that during a period of challenge and change new thinking and business models will emerge. We are very much looking forward to what lies ahead.
The initial focus of this year will be to integrate AmongUs, laying the foundation for Innersloth Games fans to access amazing products in every market across the globe.
Our next step will be to develop at least one original IP in 2021; we’ve got a wide range of ideas that we are researching and building right now. All are based on robust consumer and commercial insight, and each one of them is just phenomenal. That said, we’re going to be very strategic about what we launch and when, and we’re going to use our agile infrastructure to maximise every opportunity.
I don’t take it for granted that I bounce out of bed to get the day started – it’s the commercial and cultural goals of Toikido that are making that happen, and I am going to keep it that way.
For more information, contact Darran by emailing – firstname.lastname@example.org.